Mary knew what it meant to have the Messiah be born into poverty and raised by a peasant family. She says:
God has scattered the proud…
He has brought down the powerful
Down from their thrones (Amen!)
God has lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
What modern comparison can be made for this? Think of the one block in your city that you wouldn’t want to walk on after dark. Imagine a house sitting between two vacant buildings. Into that house, the future king of the earth is born.
Mary makes a spiritual leap that I think we all should make this Christmas season, especially in the midst of our fears and the growing social unrest of 2020. She says that if Jesus gets born on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak, then God will be on the side of those who are disadvantaged in this world. God will bring the rich and powerful down. Remember how in the beatitudes Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”? Mary sees where God is willing to have his son born and draws the same conclusion. If the messiah is coming to this address, then the meek are going to inherit the earth.
So the story is very old, and very new. Its familiarity makes us forget what lies at the core. The world is in the hands of powerful people (mostly old white men). The wealthy pass themselves lavish tax breaks. The Romans rule Palestine. The 1% deny the the majority a reasonable wage, affordable healthcare, or a retirement package. As much as things change, they remain the same.
So what do we know?
- God is willing to enter into our world. Hope means looking for what God is doing and aligning yourself with it. There is no hope, unless we look for God and trust that He will come. We each will see God somewhere. Watch. See what God is doing. Take His side.
- God has forsaken the powerful and chosen the insignificant to be his instruments. There was nothing less likely to succeed than a peasant girl from Nazareth. Who am I to doubt that God can use me?
- The fact that our world is so similar to the one we read of in the Bible does not mean that God’s rebellion has failed. It means that hope is as relevant now as it was then. Our parents may have lost hope. We must not.
Oh, and like I say every week, choose to be compassionate. And one other thing; like Mary, learn to MAGNIFY the Lord. Instead of focusing on what's wrong or the fears of this world, focus on your soul and the simplicity of this moment.